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Ex-Senator and former Presidential Candidate George McGovern in a South Dakota Hospice.

“He’s coming to the end of his life,” McGovern’s daughter, Ann, stated. She didn’t elaborate but noted that her 90-year-old father has suffered several health problems in the last year.

George McGovern became a leader of the Democrats’ liberal wing during his three decades in Congress but lost his 1972 challenge to Richard Nixon. McGovern turned his focus in recent years to world hunger.

It was after a lecture tour a year ago that he was treated for exhaustion, then two months later, he fell and hit his head.

McGovern spent several days in a Florida hospital in April for tests to determine why he occasionally passed out and had difficulty speaking. His daughter said he has moved in the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, SD, where he moved in August to spend more time near his family.

McGovern was a member of the U.S. House from 1957 to 1961 and a U.S. senator from 1963 to 1981.

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Today continues the House Republicans’ waste of time…

Well, we need jobs legislation, and we need tax resolution, and we need many more necessary things from the House of Reps… but for the last couple of days, leading to a vote today, they have been wasting time and effort.

Today’s vote will be the 33rd vote to undermine the Affordable Care Act, either through repeal or blocking funding for various provisions, since Republicans took control of the House in 2010. It won’t matter. The repeal, if passed,  is sure to be defeated in the Democratic-led Senate. And even if it made it through the Senate, the President has pledged to veto such a measure once it reaches his desk.

Yesterday I watched the arguments in the House on C-Span and spent most of the time sorting out the truth in claims by both sides. And I heard Obama speak in Iowa saying:

“I will work with anybody to improve the health care law where we can, but this law is here to stay. And it will help the vast majority of Americans feel greater security. If you’ve got health insurance, it’s going to be more secure because insurance companies can’t jerk you around because of fine print. If you don’t have health insurance, we’ll help you get it.”

No matter how much they want to eliminate Romneycare … excuse me, Obamacare … the Republicans have no plan to replace it and will eliminate health care for millions of people, especially young people and seniors and the poor.

One would think that the best thing they could do would be to create a new plan which could replace Obamacare immediately, not remove coverage from the population, and save the millions of dollars they claim they want to do. Then, once voted in, it would replace the existing law without stranding anyone.

But they are not going to do that.

I’ll watch their vote today, but I know by their sheer numbers that Republicans will pass their repeal. Then, once they send it to the Senate, maybe they can get around to the things they really should be doing. Do you think they will?

Today the Supreme Court gets back to the Health Care Bill’s Constitutionality…

C-Span 3 has them scheduled to be on the air at 1:00 PM… I don’t know if that’s live or a replay, but it will cover the next stage of their discussions.Today is the second day of hearings (tomorrow is the third and last), with the justices moving from the technicalities of the first day to exploring the legal issues at the heart of whether the law is constitutional or not.

Most of the commentators I’ve heard in the last two days think the 22 Republican challengers (3 state governors, the rest Republican Attorneys General) will not get the law declared unconstitutional. If that is the case, any move to change or eliminate it goes back to Congress.

From 1992 to the near present, it was the Republicans who were pushing mor the Individual Mandate that everyone be required to have Health Insurance. It was only when Obama pushed it in his ACA bill that they came put against it. This is why it seems political more than nationally useful.

Anyway, I’ll be listening to the Court… so more later.

Have you ever heard of Neal Boortz?

Avoid This Creep

Waiting for C-Span to start broadcasting the House debate on raising the Debt Ceiling, I found the political station showing something called The Media Research Center “Dishonors Awards” (if you aren’t aware of the MRC, it was started by the far right-wing creepiness pushing “celebrity”, Brent Bozell). At the point I tuned it in, this program, which is aimed at insulting and ridiculing anyone on the left (or even the center, it seems), someone named Neal Boortz, who, it seems is some kind of radio talk show person who has been working, by his statement, for 40 years. He very easily mocked every talk show host, radio or television, who didn’t agree with extreme right politics.

As he claimed that people like Keith Olbermann, Bob Schiefer (see what I mean about “center”) and Tavis Smiley lied about Tea Party members who have been documented as insulting, spitting at and yelling accusations at Democratic Congressmen and Senators, he managed to use more words that I don’t even want to reproduce here… but which could be seen as a boomerang coming back to criticize himself.

As I said, I have never heard of this Neal Boortz before and, since I don’t listen to extreme right wing radio, I hope I never have to again. If he is one of your heroes, then put his statue up on your shelf with Rush Limbaugh‘s and Glenn Beck‘s and have a joyous worship service. I’m going to go wash my hands and get rid of the poop the TV clicker transferred by bringing in this program. C-Span should be ashamed.

It has started again… and they call this “debate”

The House is now continuing it’s “debate” on repealing the Affordable Health Care act. I say “debate” with a tongue in cheek.

Formal debate would consist of making points from both sides, thinking and responding to those points, and, hopefully, having both sides modify their positions for a bipartisan conclusion.

That is not what is happening here. We are back to alternating speeches with each side asserting the same points as the previous speakers on their side. There is no listening to each side (indeed, there are not enough House members in the hall at any given time to really make a difference… this is part of the reason that television cameras are placed by the House authorities to not show either the emptiness of the desks or the viewers in the balcony.

And this is going to go on for five hours…the true function seems to be to present their “advertising” points to the folks at home over C-Span. These are campaign speeches of the worst order aimed at the 2012 elections.

However, I can’t help but watch these Bozos as they say the same things as many different ways as possible. If only they would really talk about the things WE need in a country that is truly suffering.

Boehner already in tears as he is escorted in to take over the House…

Crybaby Boehner is now the Speaker of the House and those of us watching on C-Span got to see him wipe the tears out of his eyes as he entered and stood next to Nancy Pelosi on the podium.

Knowing that families and children of Congress folk were in the House for the event, this sets the best possible example for them all.

It’s January 1st…A New Year!

I woke up at 5 minutes to 12 last night and saw the ball drop a Times Square, so I know it’s really a New Year. Now, here I am on Saturday morning, the first day of January, and I’m watching the Editor in Chief of Hotline taking calls on C-Span and, all of a sudden, I feel like we’re back in the same old political swamp.

Listening to the usual flow of call-ins, Republicans who are convinced that the Left controls the media and Democrats who know that the Right is going to fix the 2012 elections and Independents who think that we’re screwed no matter which way we go, I realize that the next two years is going to be at least as abysmal as the last two.

The economy may well start turning around (which is the only way I think Obama can get reelected) so I expect the President’s focus, aside from the wars that we are pumping our future financial debt into, will be on shrinking unemployment. If he gets it below 8% he probably can’t lose. If Mitch McConnell is going to fulfill his pledge to keep Obama to a single term, he’ll probably be doing as much as possible behind the scenes to keep Americans unemployed (he won’t say so, of course… but watch how he steers Republican votes with Boehner.)

And then there is the flood of Tea Party folks who start serving this month. Could they really split the Republicans? Will they push for a Newt Gingrich for President? Do they have ANY idea of how we will function if the things they campaigned for actually happen?

The Pew Charitable Trust polled Americans to find out that the first decade of this century was rated negative by a 2 to 1 majority. They thought, by a sizeable majority, that the coming decade will be better.

Let’s hope so.

Pelosi beats Shuler for Minority Leader position 150 – 43

C-Span has just announced this and Pelosi is about to speak with the Press… Formal announcement won’t take place, however, until tomorrow.

I couldn’t get to DC today, so my dogs and I are watching the Rally in my Living Room…

It’s on Comedy Central and it’s on C-SPAN and my big flatscreen TV is almost like being there (and I can get at the refrigerator.) So I’m watching the musical performers, the giving out of Medals of Reasonableness and the fooling around of Colbert and Stewart.

There are, as I understand, about 150,000 people there  – the NY Times says over 200,000 – (the camera view stretches from the Capitol end of the Mall (the stage is between the the Contemporary Art and the Smithsonian American Indian Museums) down to the Washington Monument end. Judging from other events there, I can believe the numbers.

I watched Father Guido Sarducci do the “Benediction” (could have done without it… or he could have been funnier), and listened to Yusuf (formerly Cat Stevens) sing off against Ozzie Osborne… only for both to be trumped by the OJS singing “Love Train.”

It’s fun. They are handing out medals for fear and for being reasonable… some receivers not there (like Mark Zuckerberg … as Stephen says he couldn’t be here because he was more concerned with his privacy than yours), some who come on and make a speech.

By the way, Sam Waterston, reading a poem “supposedly” by Stephen (but I would guess by their terrific writers), was splendid. Kid Rock came out to sing “the serious song” today, which he considered “ironic.”

And I had a nice lunch while I watched of some fresh vegan biscuits that I had just whipped up.

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Small update comment:

Jon’s Speech at the end, commenting against “the exhausting energy it takes to hate,” was brilliant and unexpected and his views were more non-political than I thought they’d be – and targeted the current national situation, with parties that don’t work together…intentionally…by not solving problems. I don’t know what the press will say about it tomorrow, but they ought to restate his points over and over.

Shortly before the end…

Anyone who spends a couple of hours switching around between CSpan and CSpan2 in an afternoon gets a real feeling of despair watching political parties working against each other instead of for the rest of us. For the last couple of days I’ve been watching both Houses debate trade issues (always coming back to how China screws us by devaluing the Yuan), Federal spending on things that are not making our economy any better, and both sides claiming they are addressing the things the American people want them to.

To tell the truth, everything is going to get worse. While the Republicans are working as hard as they can to make sure the Democrats accomplish as close to nothing as possible, thus getting their party’s numbers up in the coming election and perhaps getting control of the HofR or the Senate, they don’t seem to realize that if they gain power the Democrats will pull the same crap on them. If one says, as an American, I’d like both sides to work together, it is pretty much ignored.

So what do these politicians do? They spend most of their speeches on the floor complaining about each other. They don’t do the easiest things… the things that would increase employment (for which we would gladly pay necessary taxes), things that would get us out of military overexpenditures as the last international empire builders, things that would rebuild our infrastructure which the last 25 years of tax cuts have allowed to crumble. What are we able to do about it?

Do we turn into something like the Tea Party which is manipulated by the Republicans and based on white greed and racist contradictions? Do we try to convert our existing parties to be actual representatives of our concerns and needs and not those of extremely wealthy and manipulative international corporations? How do we do it?

When this all ends… when it all falls apart and we are left stranded and in deep doodoo…will there be anything left to turn to?

This is so depressing I can hardly breathe.

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UPDATE:

After putting this post up this afternoon, I was looking at some videos of Rachel Maddow and found one commenting on the Republican hypocrisy related to the Recovery Act that she did last February. Amazing how this relates to the same garbage going on between parties… and how serious this problem will get if the Republicans take over either (or both) Houses in November. Take a look:

Obama is putting off his trip to the Pacific in order to get health care through…

Having once delayed the trip by a few days, President Obama this morning decided to put off the trip until June because the Health Care bill passage and his influence on it have prior importance.

This information, combined with the release of figures from the Congressional Budget Office which show that the Health-care reform bill cuts deficit by $1.3 trillion over 20 years, makes the debate going on in the House of Representatives even more poignant. It is expected that it will be voted in on Sunday.

Needless to say, this has caused an increase energy among Republicans to attack the methods being used to pass the bill, to lie about the results of the bill, and to try anything possible to keep it from going through.

It makes C-Span one of the most exciting games in town.

Merry Christmas

Elly and I are enjoying our Xmas morning, having slept late and now finishing our favorite holiday breakfast (adapted to our new Vegan status) of potatoes and “sausage”… and we are watching C-Span discuss favorite non-fiction books of the year with the call-in audience.

As usual during a holiday, there is no real political activity going on… at least not on television… but we will undoubtedly return to the lively discussion of the merger of the House and Senate bills and the extremes the Republicans will go to in order to (try to) kill it altogether.

We took most of yesterday visiting my Mother in Virginia and my daughter Penny and her sons in Maryland, and came home to our dogs who were VERY upset that they had spent the day without us. Today we spend a lot of time paying attention to them.

I hope all of you have a nice holiday. and drop in again. I don’t know what else I’ll be listing or discussing today, but there is likely to be something. Peace.

-BT

Today the Senate Finance Committee Votes.

Now we’ll get to see if Olympia Snowe crosses over (odds are she will? She won’t? At this point who knows?), we’ll see if the final piece is favored by the Insurance lobbyists (odds are they’ll love it) and we’ll then get on with the finalizing of a bill combining both Senate committee bills (the other one has a Public Option which this one will be notoriously lacking.)

The Insurance Companies have been threatening big rate increases as this develops (they’re trying to get all the things in their favor through and all the things which cut their immense profits ruled out), and Baucus almost looked like he might stand up to them… but that will require snowballs in Hell to be delivered this afternoon.

In three minutes I’ll go to C-Span on line and watch this happen live…what an exciting day…NOT.

“The time for bickering is over…” but The War is on!

Obama addressed an overflow crowd in Minneapolis’ Target Center today, once again outlining his Health Care plan, explaining how we will pay for it, and getting the voters primed for action… Here is about ten minutes of it from CNN… the whole speech is up over at C-Span as well.

Meanwhile, in Washington DC, thousands of reactionaries were trucked in by Fox News, Glenn Beck’s organizers, and the right-wingnuts who have been convinced by these jerks to work against their own best interests:


Watching these guys interviewed on television was a revelation. Somehow we have from ABC Newsall of the Birthers and all of the anti-Acorn righties and Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks, which has been subsidized by the Insurance companies in one place today and they seem more interested in equating Obama with Hitler and The Joker and carrying rather tasteless signs that say “Bury Obamacare with Kennedy.”

The Right will undoubtedly get more outrageous and the Insurance Company/Fox News factions will pour as much as they can in… especially since Obama makes sense and has 70% to 80% of the voting population behind him.

More to come.

The Republicans will attack Planned Parenthood…

…until its federal funding is eliminated. I believe that as I listen to Rep. Mike Pence (R-IND) as he tries to amend the funding bill that will support that funding.

The grounds? Why, abortion of course, even though NOT ONE CENT OF THE MONEY GIVEN TO PLANNED PARENTHOOD GOES TO ABORTION. This is because of a law passed while the Repiglicans were in charge… and it continues to this day.

True, Planned Parenthood DOES fund abortions… but not on the federal dime. And this is because of the requirements of the majority of women in America.

The anti-abortion contingent is a religion based group who are unable to recognize the separation of church and state. Nor do they wish to accept the fact that Planned Parenthood also provides more basic women’s health services, especially to poor women who would not be able to afford breast exams or pregnancy services, than any other organization.

Listening to Repiglicans debate is like watching the people who sucked the basic foundation out of our economy for decades – since Reagan got elected to the Presidency – become the people who are most unaware of their previous accomplishments. Listening to them whine and complain is sometimes humorous, but mostly pathetic.